Booths that have appeared around town inside the Minden Brookshire’s and Walmart locations are asking local voters to sign a petition to legalize the package sale of alcoholic beverages in the city.
People may have noticed that this isn’t the first time these booths have been in the area. A similar petition was making its rounds last year, but when it came time to tally the signatures, a portion of them were rejected, leaving the petitions falling short of what they needed to move forward.
The petition calls for an election for the submission of five proposals. If all five were to pass, package sales of alcoholic beverages and consumption on the premises would be permitted in Minden.
Those behind the booths are there on behalf of a business called Texas Petition Strategies Inc. They are a group based in Austin, Texas that specializes in finding out what their clients’ goal is and getting petitions to pass that help them to achieve that goal.
While they don’t advertise their client at the booths themselves, on their website www.texaspetitionstrategies.com it shows that Walmart is a client of theirs, as well as other grocers such as Brookshire Brothers, Whole Foods and Kroger.
Texas Petition Strategies did not respond to attempts to reach them during the writing of this article.
Regardless of whether people want the sale of alcohol to be in Minden or not, it is worth looking into the potential consequences of putting these propositions up to a vote. Mike Elshout is the owner of the Mike’s Hometown Spirits in Dixie Inn, and as a small business owner who would be directly impacted based on the results of this petition, he shared his perspective on the potential outcomes this could have for both Minden and Dixie Inn.
“As a businessman, I don’t want it. I do think it will kill the town of Dixie Inn. It’s gonna take all their revenue, and what little revenue it adds to Minden, I don’t think will offset to help Minden that much dollar-wise,” said Elshout.
His other concern is the fact that it’s an outside company from a different state that is trying to push for this petition, rather than the citizens of the Minden themselves. Elshout said, “I think if the people of Minden wanted it, they should come with it themselves, but for an outside company to come in here and try to get Minden to do that, I don’t think that’s right. And I think the big thing is we may lose it in restaurants.”
What Elshout is alluding to when he says that “we may lose it in restaurants” is that if the petition moves forward, it will put all of the privileges for businesses to sell alcohol up to a vote again, including the rights of restaurants in Minden to sell alcohol. “I think the people that are doing this petition are misleading people when they ask people if they want alcohol and wine at Brookshires and Walmart. There are five different propositions have to be voted on, and all five of them have to be voted on separately. So if people go to the polls and vote no for everything, then the restaurants are out. All of our restaurants that have alcohol will not have it anymore. And that’ll kill the restaurants in Minden.”
The wording of the propositions on the petition is as follows:
Shall the sale of beverages of alcoholic content containing not more than six (6) percent alcohol by volume be permitted by package only and not for consumption on the premises?
Shall the sale of beverages of alcoholic content containing not more than six (6) percent alcohol by volume for consumption on the premises by permitted?
Shall the sale of beverage alcohol containing one-half (½) of one (1) percent by volume and above for consumption on the premises be permitted?
Shall the sale of beverage alcohol containing one-half (½) of one (1) percent by alcohol by volume and above be permitted by package only and not for consumption on the premises?
Shall the sale of beverages of high and low alcoholic content be permitted only on the premises of restaurant establishments which have been issued an “R” permit as defined by law?
On a final note, Elshout said, “We donated almost 20,000 dollars to Minden last year for different events. That’ll be gone for me, I wouldn’t be able to afford to do it anymore. That’s what I’m asking the citizens of Minden to do, is to help me keep my business, and to do that would be to vote no to the sale of packaged alcohol.